Sunday 15 December 2019

Irish Open: Siem chased down while local duo labour

Mark Garrod, Press Association Sport Golf Correspondent

It did not take long for German Marcel Siem to be caught at the top in the Irish Open third round in Killarney today - but Rory McIlroy and birthday boy Graeme McDowell were nowhere to be seen on the leaderboard.

Siem, 10 under par overnight after back-to-back rounds of 66, parred the first two holes, but Indian Jeev Milkha Singh birdied the second from six feet and Australian Richard Green picked up shots on the first, fifth and sixth.

McIlroy, though, was all the way down in 47th on one under after two double bogeys, two bogeys and three birdies in his first 12 holes.

McDowell, meanwhile, was three under with five to play as he turned 32. He had to be content with an outward level par 35 after mixing three birdies with a bogey and a double bogey on the short third, where he was bunkered off the tee and three-putted.

McIlroy's opening six came when he hit his drive onto the stony beach beside Lough Leane, advanced his second shot only about 20 yards and then three-putted.

Playing partner David Howell was going much better, the former Ryder Cup star having a hat-trick of birdies from the 11th to reach nine under and joint fourth with Swede Christian Nilsson.

Siem bogeyed the third after bunkering his tee shot, but Green and Singh had company when England's Simon Dyson birdied the sixth and two-putted the long seventh to reach 10 under as well.

He was out-playing playing partner and defending champion Ross Fisher, who bogeyed the second and sixth before also making four on the 513-yard seventh to get back to six under.

As heavy rain arrived the sixth change in the lead came when Dyson chipped in for a third successive on the eighth, but minutes later Howell, down at 282nd in the world after reaching ninth when he had his last win at Wentworth in 2006, made it five in six holes on the long 16th.

The 36-year-old was 11 under as well and he and Dyson were one in front of Green and Singh.

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